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Is it appropriate to change web pages into greyscale?

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Starmill

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The National Rail Enquiries website and app are currently shown without their normal blue hues and in greyscale. There is no obvious reason from the page why this has been done, although one could guess it may have been an attempt to make a public display of respect for the dead.

I can just about read it still but I was very surprised it just happened with no explanation and was initially confused. I also wonder if it is causing any accessibility issues because the page loads in colour and then some kind of filter is applied over it. I was initially quite confused and thought there was a problem with my device, but someone else was experiencing the same 'flicker'.
 

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Crossover

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That’s a very weird look! Particularly unhelpful for the disruptions page - yellow and red exclamation triangles are now dark grey and light grey!
 

birchesgreen

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What browser do you use? In Safari it loads in colour then switches to greyscale within a second.
 

yorksrob

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Oh, I did wonder whether it was some sort of a bug !

I don't mind, so long as the right trains are showing.
 

CarrotPie

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On Chrome, it loads in blue, then switches in about a second. While the death of Prince Philip is a big thing, I have to agree that this does seem a bit OTT.
 

najaB

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if it is causing any accessibility issues because the page loads in colour and then some kind of filter is applied over it.
It's a stylesheet so in all likelihood anyone who uses assistive technology will be overriding it anyway.
 

py_megapixel

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OK for some reason if I switch over to Firefox it shows up in black. How unbelievably depressing.
1617984640452.png



However, it's easy to see how they're doing it. This may not make complete sense to people unfamiliar with CSS, but what they've done is apply property filter: grayscale(100%) to the entire of the webpage, as you can see here:
1617984895309.png


For those unfamiliar, @Starmill is correct - this is literally just applying a grey-scale filter to the entire page. And it looks god-awful.

I also note they've added "Prince Philip" to the section meant for travel advice... the world really is going a bit insane.
 

Starmill

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Changing a logo to dark colours, or adding a statement with a link to a home page seem common and sensible. But I'm not sure I've seen anywhere else where the entire service has had its colours changed.
 

HarryL

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It is quite over the top if this is why it's been done, though when I go to the page it doesn't happen?

As a bit of an off-topic side, the National Rail website is quite ugly, I don't think I've ever properly used it before, looks as though it's stuck in an early 2000s design trend.
 

ta-toget

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I can help feeling like a lot of it is an overreaction. It's sad, yes, but…
Oh dear - that does seem OTT. I have to ask - what's going to be left to do when HMQ finally passes on?
Repaint all the trains and stations in record time? Change the ticket stock? Tell staff to change uniform quickly? Burn all the food black in the restaurant cars (or whatever they're called)?

I was rather put out at the cancellation of normal broadcasting (at least on the radio, haven't turned on the TV since the news broke). Yes, interrupt it and tell us the sad news. Maybe remind us every so often in case people who tune in don't already know, but I hardly think we need to listen to people talking about him with not much to say for hours on end.
Black text on a black background.
I would hope not, but I wouldn't be surprised.
 

py_megapixel

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If Her Majesty dies they'll also have to find some way to grayscale the physical ticket offices... maybe by upcycling the social distancing screens with a bit of gray spray paint?
 

Darandio

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Over the top and ridiculous. Need travel advice? That's not important right now, we need to make sure you are mourning.

I notice they also replied to someone about it on Twitter, making the claim that Twitter had done exactly the same thing. Twitter is as blue as ever for me, unless i'm missing something?
 

Mike395

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Northern have also done the same with their site - I've no particular issue with companies marking the event (and the GTR TOCs, for example, have done it quite well, without detracting from the site's usability) but as someone who uses colour cues for navigating a website that I'm familiar with quickly, it slowed me down quite considerably when searching NRE earlier!
 

HarryL

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Most of the TOCs have in some form or another having a flick through. Seems like a coordinated thing as a bunch are also using the same image of Buckingham Palace.
 

mikeg

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No, this isn't North Korea Where some dear leader has passed away... Yet
 

Peter C

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GWR haven't gone down this fully grayscale route: many parts of their site retain the standard green, and there is an image at the top of the homepage linking to this page:

HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh​

On behalf of everyone at GWR we would like to express our deepest sympathy to Her Majesty, The Queen and the entire Royal Family at this sad time.
The Royal Family have always had close ties with train travel, a tradition and service we at GWR are proud to have provided for many, many years.
We are sure there will be time for those who wish to reflect privately on his life and service to the country over the coming days.

-Peter

EDIT:
Cross Country have a 'Toggle grayscale' button on their site:
1617999039796.png
 

najaB

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Doesn't this break accessibility laws?
In short: no.

AFAIAA, only public sector bodies have a legal requirement to have accessible websites - so TOCs wouldn't be in violation of the law if their site wasn't accessible. But even if they were a public-sector body, changing the colour scheme on a temporary basis wouldn't run them foul of the law since all the other accessibility features (e.g. site maps, image captions, caret browsing) would still work. A website that claims to be accessible by virtue of its colour scheme is not accessible!
 

py_megapixel

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A website that claims to be accessible by virtue of its colour scheme is not accessible!
Clearly not, when you consider that colourblindess is a thing (it's not exactly hugely common, but it affects enough people that you really ought to be designing for it if at all possible)
 

najaB

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My main problem with what they've done is that it screams "least effort". It's a lazy way to pay respects - they either should have done it properly (e.g. a new banner image) or not at all.
 

Crossover

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Looks like ‘our’ logo has been converted. But it has somewhat broken the logo on mobile!
 

Starmill

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Doesn't this break accessibility laws?
It's probably just a matter of poor customer service rather than a matter of law. As many people have pointed out there are ways to mark a period of mourning which do not make a site more difficult to read or use.
 
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